Conservative conference: Cameron rules out 'mansion tax'

 

David Cameron: "We've capped welfare but we need to go further"

Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out a new tax on expensive properties but vowed "further action to ensure rich people pay their fair share".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show new measures would be unveiled before the next election.

His statement comes as Conservative activists gather in Birmingham for the party's conference.

Mr Cameron's decision could put him on a collision course with the Lib Dems, who back such a "mansion tax".

The prime minister also said the UK is considering curbing migration from some European countries and would be prepared to veto a new EU budget to prevent "massive" increases.

Asked about an annual tax on property, he told Andrew Marr: "That is not going to happen."

He said that if people worked hard and saved, invested in a property and paid down their mortgage, he didn't want the UK to "be a country that comes after you every year with a massive great tax, and so that is not going to happen."

Chancellor George Osborne also rejected Lib Dem calls for a mansion tax - and an annual levy on wealth - saying those ideas were not the right way to make sure the rich made a greater contribution.

'Not sensible'

He told Sky News: "I don't think the mansion tax is the right idea because I tell you before the election it'll be sold to you as a mansion tax then after the election a lot of the people in Britain are going to wake up and find their more modest homes have been reclassified as a mansion.

Analysis

The conference began with a blizzard of mini announcements.

Eye-catching, popular and relatively cheap ideas, on everything from council tax to rail fares to the European Union's budget.

The idea is to focus on the cost of living for ordinary people and ram home that the Conservatives get many families are struggling.

Both the prime minister and the chancellor said there will be new plans to make sure richer people "pay their fair share".

But both also said the idea of a tax on big houses - what Westminster types call a "mansion tax" - isn't a goer.

Which begs an obvious question. What is their plan for getting the better off to pay more?

The chancellor also said he wasn't keen on a "wealth tax," adding, "in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually".

So that leaves some wriggle room.

Many will now ask in which direction they intend to wriggle.

"Nor do I think it's sensible to have a wealth tax in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually.

"But I'm very clear that the rich will have to make a contribution to closing the budget deficit."

In addition to his stance on the mansion tax, Mr Osborne is also understood to have ruled out introducing new council tax bands on high-value homes.

In his Marr interview, Mr Cameron insisted it was "too early to say" whether the government would miss its key target for public sector debt to be falling by 2015, as some experts are predicting.

Council tax freeze

But he said the Conservatives would "level" with the public about the need for another £16bn of spending cuts in 2015-16.

"We have to find these spending reductions and if we want to avoid cuts in things like hospitals and schools - services that we all rely on - we have to look at things like the welfare budget," he said.

But he promised to stand by his promise not to cut universal benefits for pensioners - such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments.

He is also announced a council tax freeze in England for the third year in a row.

And there is to be a cap on how much regulated train fares can go up by - so ticket prices will not rise by more than 1% above the rate of retail-price inflation (RPI).

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg made it clear at his party's conference that he would only sign up to further cuts in the welfare budget if a wealth tax was imposed by the chancellor at the same time.

'We get it'

Questioned about Europe, Mr Cameron confirmed comments by the home secretary in the Sunday Times that a government review was looking at introducing possible controls to limit a new wave of economic migration.

He also suggested the EU should consider having two budgets - one for countries in the eurozone and one for those outside the single currency. Last year he vetoed a treaty to co-ordinate budget policies.

Opening the four-day conference, party chairman Grant Shapps suggested the Conservatives had been too "shy" about trumpeting what they had done to support low and middle-income earners in tough times.

The public were worried about the cost of "paying their bills and filling up their car" and the party had to make clear they were on "the side of every working family".

"People need to know 'they do get it'. But they are not mind readers. We need to go out there and tell them."

 

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  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 294.

    no surprises really. Its no good is it it would effect him wouldnt it..... gosh cant have that. no no no no terrible idea just terrible.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 293.

    >250. Dave
    >Oh people, STOP WHINING will you? We have a DEMOCRACY
    ...
    >now they are moaning about it. Wise up will you. You got what you >asked for.

    No, actually. People vote for pre-election promises.
    Once in power politicians do just what suits them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 292.

    AS with ALL taxes the problem comes with threasholds, whilst a million pounds sounds a lot in some towns in others even a 3 bed bungalow reaches £600k. A small rise in house prices would put every house in my street into 'mansion tax', With most residents retired they could not pay the tax without selling their homes and being penalised for their care in early life.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 291.

    Oh ye of little faith, remember all you do is vote for a party that will 1) Rob your pension funds 2 ) leave 1 in five youth unemployed 3) leave every man woman and child with a debt of £22,300 each (no doubt uprated for inflation) 4) pay £10 million pounds out to the dead (great way to use the proceeds from the 0.2% of people who own houses worth £2 Million.) Yep great idea

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 290.

    Wake up everybody!

    This years conference tactic is to cause as may rows as possible in the press.
    1. To drum up support amongst the rabid right wingers and Daily Mail Readers to deflect a revolt.
    2. And more importantly, get the press deflected from the real issue of the day - this government's inept handling of the economy.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 289.

    250. Dave

    Hang on, Dave.

    You mention democracy, but another way to look at the results of the last election is that over 70% of the population DIDN'T want a Tory government, but we've ended up with one anyway.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 288.

    @261 Emily et al.
    There are more voters than just you in your constituency. You live in a democracy. Your consituency and this country as a whole got what it asked for. It voted Tory, it voted to close hospitals, cut teachers, cut taxes for the rich. remember thatcher ? remember the 80's ? Cameron will finish her work. He does have a mandate to do it, he did get the most votes, that is a majority

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 287.

    How about ensuring that all properties have to be owned by a UK registered tax entity. There's way too much foreign speculation in the property market that keeps up prices.

    Then have capital gains tax on second properties at 100%, then there might be some homes left for first time buyers.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 286.

    How about something really new? Let's stop looking for ways to neverendly tax everybody until we squeek? How about looking at how you use the money you already get from us and stop wasting it? It's like giving a glutton the keys to Sainsburys with this government. Taxing houses, small dogs, next door's cat etc. doesn't solve the problem. You are wasteful and we are all very tired of you.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 285.

    It doesn't take a lot of economic common sense to know that one of the most important things in a consumerist capitalist economy is confidence. That's why preaching austerity is guaranteed to run your economy down. - But then my Osborn joke is that he can't count to over ten without taking his shoes off. He is literally Nigel from Monty Pythons Upper Class Twit of the Year Show.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 284.

    Disenfranchised.

    I am by nature, a Tory. Yet this bunch of jobs-for-the-boys, expense fiddling, wide boys make me puke.

    I will not be voting Tory all the time it is led by these lying, uncaring, little posh boys, none of whom seem to have ever had a proper job.

    Fortunately for DC, I will never, ever vote for Labour who can't be trusted to run a bath, let alone an economy.

    Who do I vote for?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 283.

    Once again Conservatives renege on their part of a deal. Osborne is not in coalition - when will the LibDems realise this? At first I respected Clegg for doing the right thing and forming the coalition, but no longer, he has rolled over too many times. He appears to have found being "important" to his liking and gone are his principles. He could, and now should, bring down the government

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 282.

    After 2+ years I've run out of things to say about these fools. Will gladly take my chances on a UKIP government over any of the established parties.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 281.

    A property tax has been tried in loads of places and failed, it's difficult to administer, and who values all these properties. Total tax take hardly ever increases no matter what you do. Why should someone with one million pound home pay more than someone with 20 half million pound homes? Greece tried it and look how it went for them.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 280.

    @187 I think the mansion tax is intended to contribute to national funds rather than local. If you introduced higher council tax bands for £2m houses then you would generate more council tax in richer parts of the country, but it wouldn't help the poorer parts.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 279.

    What I would like to see is a huge tax for people who own holiday homes but only use them for a month a year. We have well over a million empty properties each party still wants to build yet more. The pref is to build on green belt rather than use existing empty homes/business. North Devon C is doing this to generate Ilfracombe they plan to build 750 homes/school further away than the supermarket

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 278.

    @239. Bos Kabouter

    I think this hits the nail pretty square on the head. The problem with a separate "Mansion Tax" is that it smacks of singling out the rich for a special tax that no one else pays. We already have a tax on property - for good or bad - which is arbitrarily capped. Simply allowing Council tax bands to increase progressively would be simply equitable

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 277.

    239.Bos Kabouter

    I rather would see an extension of the council tax bands! Big mansions should be in band R, Queen's palace in band Z.
    ---------------
    I agree but that would undo part of the biggest robbery in history that took from the poor to give to the rich. "Blue Pong" Tories would never do that - not going to upset their mates are they?
    Brits should stop smiling at this & get angry.

  • rate this
    -15

    Comment number 276.

    I think stupidity should be taxed. The first piece of stupidity:
    Those who think the Tories = Entrepeneurs = the House of Lords = lottery winners = anyone who has got more money than me.
    Get over the fact that some people are richer than others or move to North Korea.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 275.

    Bring in buy to let tax or better still cap the number of properties with under 3 beds landlords can have in their ever growing property portfolios, bring in some regulation on rental rates and give first time buyers a chance. Do something about the ridiculous tax and duty on fuel and sort out the penny pinching councils who are destroying small businesses and the high streets.

 

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